As Valentine's Day approaches, my mind turns not just to flowers and chocolates, but also toward cultivating love both inside and out. It's easy to direct love and attention toward the people and creatures in our lives, but it can been more of a challenge to direct that same devotion to ourselves, especially in our busy, stimulating culture. Caring for the foundation within the inner refuge of the heart opens the doorway to greater love and acceptance-- of all beings, including the self. I wanted to share some ways we can cultivate love this season:
1. Embrace your vulnerability. As Brené Brown says," Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.... If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful lives, vulnerability is the path." When we acknowledge and express our own vulnerability, we open ourselves to deeper connection by allowing ourselves to be truly seen.
2. Setting a heart-based resolve (sankalpa); When you wake up in the morning, set a resolve/intention for the day. For example: "I listen to the wisdom of my wise heart," "I give and receive love freely," or "I treat myself and others with compassion and lovingkindness." Feel free to repeat your intention throughout the day, write it down on a sticky note on your mirror, state it during your Yoga Nidra or other meditation practices. In the repetition of the intention, it becomes implanted in your consciousness, and will be so.
3. Heart Chakra Mantra: The base mantra for the heart (Anahata) chakra is "YAM." In meditation, close your eyes, and chant the mantra YAM either out loud or silently in your mind. Chant the mantra for at least two minutes, or for as long as you please.
4. Heart Hridaya Mudra: Place your right hand over your heart space, and the left hand over the right. Breathe naturally, directing your attention into your heart space. Begin with 5-10 natural breaths, and increase the number of breaths each week. Breathing into the heart space releases tension, balancing energy both in upward and downward channels. Emotions begin to harmonize into balance, dissolving fears, sadness, and doubts.
5. Practice Yoga Nidra: In this deeply healing practice, we can address limiting beliefs and open the self to new ways of acknowledging, resolving and healing old wounds; we can expand our awareness to embrace our innate capacity for joy, tenderness and profound lovingkindness.
As always, I am deeply grateful to share the loving practice of Yoga Nidra Meditation with you and yours.